12 years later, the police station has not yet been built

Henry

By Bernard Chiguvare, GroundUp

Construction work on the only police station in Vuwani, Limpopo, started in 2012 and has still not been completed.

Until 2021, police officers were forced to work out of mobile units due to various delays with two different contractors to complete the administrative block.

Vuwani has 125 police officers serving around 96 villages. They work under difficult conditions including insufficient office space and they do not have any detention cells.

Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Sihle Zikalala said the construction work has been delayed over the years due to incompetent contractors.

The department paid millions of rand to the contractors, but only a fraction of this was recovered.

The department awarded the first contract in 2012 for more than R27 million, but the work was stopped when the contractor ran out of money. That contract was canceled in 2013. At that stage only 20% of the work was done. At that stage, the department paid R7.5 million to the contractor.

The second contractor worked on the project between 2015 and 2021. The department said it had to cancel the contract again because the contractor was experiencing “cash flow problems”. About R36 million was paid to this contractor.

Zikalala announced last week that a third contractor had been appointed and the work is expected to be completed by 25 September 2025 – at an estimated cost of R26.9 million.

During a visit to the premises last week, Zikalala admitted to residents that mistakes were made when the cheapest contractors were appointed. They did not have the sufficient capacity to do the job.

Nkosana Kubeka, acting deputy director of the department, said the current contractor must complete the community service centre, including the police barracks, administration block, 11 detention cells, the paving, the laboratory and to install a fence and water tank.

The laboratory also needs a ceiling, the cupboards need to be repaired and plumbing needs to be done. The detention cells still need plumbing, ventilation, electricity and flooring.

Suspects are currently being transported to the holding cells at Thohoyandou Police Station, about 30 km away.

“We are grateful that the project is now taking shape. This will help us in the performance of our duties,” said Eddie van der Walt, Vhembe district commissioner.

Kubeka told GroundUp that progress would be monitored by the officers.

“One of the senior managers of the national office was told to monitor the project. We will meet monthly and provide progress reports to the minister every two months,” Kubeka promised.

  • This report was originally posted on GroundUp and is used with permission.